Snowboarding Mt. Hood, Oregon
If you live or are traveling in or around Portland, Oregon you will most likely end up around Mt. Hood. It’s the best mountain in the area, has 3 resorts to choose from, and is cheap compared to Colorado.
To get there, follow Highway 26 east. If you can’t find highway 26, drive east on I-84 and follow the Mt. Hood signs to highway 26. It’s an hour drive from Portland and please remember that you are driving from sea level to 5,000 feet. So KNOW THAT THE ROAD CONDITIONS WILL CHANGE. Everyday you see yuppies stuck in the snow. Bring chains or a 4-wheel drive.
Once you arrive at Government Camp (my favorite ski town) you will see Ski Bowl to your right.
Ski Bowl is America’s largest night skiing area with 34 lighted runs, 4 chair lifts, and 1,500 vertical feet. Night skiing goes from 1500 to 2200, perfect if you want to start at Timberline and make a full day of skiing. Tuesday night is ladies night and tickets can be purchased for $18. Regular night passes are $32 and day is $49. Be advised, the chairlifts are 2 beer lifts (they’re slow).
I always park in the West lot and ride the lift up to the Upper Bowl. The bowl has the steepest terrain and plenty of cliff drops. At the bottom of the Bowl is a cabin that serves pub grub and beer. There is also an outdoor bathroom there for the ladies; us men make yellow snow.
As soon as you exit Govy (Government Camp) you will see the entrance to Timberline on your left. Follow Timberline road for 8 miles as it winds up the mountain. Be a nice guy and pick up some hitchhikers at the bottom of the road, they’re harmless and it could be you one day.
Timberline is my favorite resort because it is cheaper ($62) than Meadows and everyone is happier there plain and simple. Nicer crew and crowd. They offer the Fusion Pass that gives you access to Timberline and Ski Bowl, perfect for full day boarding. The mountain operates from 0900 to 1600. On top of that, they run 12 months out of the year (limited lifts in summer), 5 high-speed quad lifts, 1 triple, 1 double, and have 3,960 feet elevation. They also have a snow cat that will bring you to the top of Palmer if weather permits, the highest run on the mountain.
Timberline is great because the parking lot and lodge are located at the midway point of the mountain so you can drop in from where you park. The resort usually runs 4 parks and is loaded with tree runs. The only downside is it’s not very steep so if you fall in the trees, you’ll most likely be walking out. Sadly, Timberline has no Half-pipe.
One more thing, if you hitchhiked to the mountain (or your sister left you there) you can snowboard down to Govy (Government Camp) via the Glade. From the top of Jeff’s Flood lift take a right and follow that sucker till the end. Just don’t be carving too much because it gets flat and you’ll need the speed.
If you got the money or you’re seeking better terrain continue past Timberline Road on Highway 26 towards Meadows. Further along 26 you will see a turn off for highway 35, take that north towards Meadows.
Meadows day pass costs $89, runs 6 high-speed quads, 5 doubles, and the lifts operate from 0900 to 1600. Meadows’ has more acreage (2,150) than timberlines 1,415, but it has less vertical drop at 2,777. The terrain is steeper and offers more natural features. Meadows is best on a powder day, get to Heather’s Canyon ASAP. They also run several terrain parks and have a half-pipe up most of the year. The biggest downside to Meadows is the crowds and the price. This place fills up on the weekends and you could be in line for a while if you end up down by the lodge. If you can’t afford a lift pass they have a free terrain park with rails and jumps by the parking lot.
Make a weekend out of it and stay at the Huckleberry Inn in Govy (24 hour breakfast). Use this as your base and try all 3 resorts.
Day 1, Hitchhike to Timberline, do a full day, then snowboard down the Glade back down to Govy. Stop in town for dinner and drinks, then walk across the bridge to Ski Bowl East and board all night.
Day 2, check out of your hotel, drive to meadows, and do a full day there.
Enjoy the Northwest!